Distributed Agency in Food Waste—A Focus on Non-human Actors in Retail Setting

  • Lotta Alhonnoro
  • Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen
  • Henna Syrjälä


Alhonnoro, Leipämaa-Leskinen, and Syrjälä analyse distributed agency in food waste, focusing on how non-human actors participate in production and/or reduction of food waste in retailing. Adopting the Actor-Network Theory, they follow how bread may—or may not—turn to waste. They zoom in on the interactions of three particular sets of non-human actors—bread and its package, natural-temporal actors, and techno-material actors—with other human and non-human actors in the food waste network. The chapter outlines practical implications and suggestions for food waste reduction by showing how food waste in retailing is not merely a human-led process that can be solved at the aggregate level, but a dispersed and complex issue needing analysis of the operational reality in the store environment.


Non-human agency Agency Reducing food waste Retail network Actor-Network Theory Assemblage Bread and bakery waste in supermarkets Managing food waste in supermarkets 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lotta Alhonnoro
    • 1
  • Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen
    • 1
  • Henna Syrjälä
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Marketing and CommunicationUniversity of VaasaVaasaFinland

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